By Khaled Abu Toameh
It is obvious by now that the Christians in the Middle East are an “endangered species.”
Christians in Arab countries are no longer being persecuted; they are now being slaughtered and driven out of their homes and lands.
Those who for many years turned a blind eye to complaints about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East now owe the victims an apology. Now it is clear to all that these complaints were not “Jewish propaganda.”
The war of genocide against Christians in the Middle East can no longer be treated as an “internal affair” of Iraq or Egypt or the Palestinians. What the West needs to understand is that radical Islam has declared jihad not only against Jews, but also against Christians.
In Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian territories, Christians are being targeted almost on a daily basis by Muslim fundamentalists and secular dictators.
Dozens of Arab Christians in Iraq have been killed in recent months in what seems to be well-planned campaign to drive them out of the country. Many Christian families have already begun fleeing Iraq out of fear for their lives.
Some have chosen to start new lives in Jordan, while many others are expressing hope that they could be resettled in North America or Europe.
In Egypt, the plight of the Coptic Christian minority appears to be worsening. Just this week, the Egyptian security forces killed a Coptic Christian man and wounded scores of others who were protesting against the government’s intention to demolish a Christian-owned structure.
Hardly a day passes without reports of violence against members of the Coptic Christian community in various parts of Egypt. Most of the attacks are carried out by Muslim fundamentalists.
According to the Barnabas Fund, an advocacy and charitable organization based in the United Kingdom, “Fears for the safety of Egyptian Christians are growing after a series of false allegations, violent threats and mass demonstrations against Christians in Egypt.”
Muslim anger was ignited by unfounded accusations that Egyptian Christians were aligned with Israel and stockpiling weapons in preparation for war against Muslims.
The Barnabas Fund noted that Egyptian authorities have been accused of complicity for political reasons in the escalating sectarian crisis.
Palestinian Christians have also been feeling the heat, although they their conditions remain much better than those of their brothers and sisters in Iraq and Egypt.
Last week, the Western-funded Palestinian Authority in the West Bank arrested a Christian journalist who reported about differences between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah operative Mohammed Dahlan. The journalist, George Qanawati, manager of Radio Bethlehem 2000, was freed five days later.
In the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the tiny Christian community is also living in fear following a spate of attacks by radical Islamic groups.
The failure of the international community to pay enough attention to the dangers facing the Christians encouraged radical Muslims and corrupt dictatorships to step up their assaults on Christian individuals and institutions.
When Muslim fanatics cannot kill Christian soldiers or civilians in the mountains of Afghanistan or on the streets of New York, they choose an easy prey: their Arab Christian neighbors.